October 1st, 2008
04:08 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Polls: Major gains for Obama in battleground states

Obama is up in new CNN polls.
Obama is up in new CNN polls.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) – New polls in five crucial battleground states that could decide the race for the White House suggest Barack Obama is making some major gains.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls released Wednesday afternoon of likely voters in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia suggest a shift towards the Democratic presidential nominee.

In Florida, the state that decided it all in the 2000 presidential election, 51 percent of likely voters say Obama is their choice for president, with 47 percent backing Republican presidential nominee John McCain. The last CNN poll taken in Florida showed the race for the state's 27 electoral votes all tied at 48 percent apiece, among registered voters. A new CNN Poll of Polls in Florida, also out Wednesday afternoon, has Obama over McCain by 5 points. The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the new CNN poll and other new state polls.

"The campaign season is like the hurricane season. Florida lies directly in its path. Hurricane Obama hit Florida, and Hurricane McCain. Tropical Storms Biden and Palin made landfall in the Sunshine State. The impact? Over the last two weeks, Barack Obama has been gaining support in Florida," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

Obama's also making gains over McCain in Minnesota, the state where the Republican convention was held a month ago. Fifty-four percent of those questioned are backing Obama, with 43 percent supporting McCain. That 11 point lead is much larger than the small two point advantage Obama had in the last CNN poll taken in Minnesota, one month ago.

It's a similar story in Missouri, where 49 percent of those polled are backing Obama and 48 percent supporting McCain. That's a gain for Obama, who was down five points to McCain in our last poll in Missouri, taken three weeks ago. Thursday's night's Vice Presidential debate is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. The only other new poll in Missouri, a Research 2000 survey, indicates McCain ahead by one point.

The poll also indicates Obama has a four point lead over McCain in Nevada, 51 percent to 47 percent. CNN's last survey in Nevada, taken in late August, had McCain up slightly. A new American Research Group poll in Nevada puts McCain ahead by two points.

In Virginia, a state that hasn't voted for the Democrats in a presidential contest since 1964, the new poll suggests Obama has a nine point lead, 53 percent to 44 percent. The last CNN survey in Virginia, taken in mid September, had McCain up by four points. But it's a slightly different story in American Research Group's new survey in Virginia, which indicates McCann has a three point lead.

What's behind this shift for Obama?

"Obama has gained ground among moderates in all five states," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may have something to do with the first presidential debate. Some commentators knocked Obama for agreeing with McCain as often as he did, but moderates tend to like it when candidates appear willing to see the other side's point of view.

"In most states, Obama also won support from senior citizens and voters making more than $75,000. Those are two groups who may have been hardest-hit by the recent problems in the stock market and the financial community. Economic jitters may not last if Congress passes legislation in the next few days, but there may have been short-term gains for Obama as a result of the current economic problems," added Holland.

When factored in, the new CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls are behind a shift in the CNN Electoral College Map. CNN is moving Minnesota, and its 10 electoral votes, from toss up to lean Obama. Missouri, with 11 electoral votes up for grabs, is shifting from lean McCain to toss up. With those moves, CNN estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win states with 250 electoral votes and McCain states with 189 electoral votes, with 99 electoral votes in states still up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed to win the White House. Obama has a 61 electoral vote advantage over McCain, up from a 40 point lead in our previous electoral map.

The poll also expanded to include three third party candidates, Independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. Except for a 3 percent showing by Nader in Florida and a 4 percent showing by Nader in Nevada, no one registered more than two percent in any survey.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls were conducted September 28-30, with 940 registered voters and 770 likely votes in Florida, 929 registered voters and 849 likely voters in Minnesota, 951 registered voters and 744 likely voters in Missouri, 924 registered voters and 684 likely voters in Nevada, and 925 registered voters and 684 likely voters in Virginia all questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Florida, Minnesota and Missouri, and 4 percentage points in Nevada and Virginia.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN Polls • Florida • John McCain • Minnesota • Missouri • Nevada • Virginia
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. Jason G.

    Polls are great. If Los Angeles Mayor was still alive you could ask him how reliable polls are. For those of you not in the know, Bradley was polling well ahead of Pete Wilson in the run for California Governor. Bradley lost. Don't underestimate the "Bubba" vote.

    October 1, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Joe Bloe

    When an SNL skit makes a parody of you using your answers VERBATIM (translation for Sarah – that means "the exact same words in the order you used them"), you may have somewhat of a problem...

    Memorizing talking points and then getting them mixed up will do nothing for your and McCain's campaign! So keep it up!

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!!!

    October 1, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. Here we go again

    Anticipating an Obama victory, media talking heads in a self-congratulatory gesture have proclaimed:

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

    Where have we heard that before? :-)

    October 1, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Alaska hillbilly

    I am an independent. I have decided to vote for the Democrats this time. McCain is a politician of the 20th century not the 21st. We need new ideas and vision we need energy to face the challenges of this rapidly changing new world.

    October 1, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. A. L. Flanagan

    The sad part is the Republicans have NO ONE left who could do better than McCain. The other primary candidates were much worse. The veneer of civilization is wearing off the Republicans and they're being exposed as the party of the rich "i've got mine, so screw you" point of view. They have no solutions for many of the major problems of our time.

    October 1, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    the beating will continue until morale improves:

    You're wrong dude; on October 1, 2004, Kerry and Bush were tied, after bush was up by 5 to 9 points a week earlier.
    But facts, never get in the way of right wing BS.

    October 1, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Jessica in bfe virginia

    HA HA HA

    THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE VA IS A BATTLE GROUND STATE.
    JOHN MCCAIN WILL WIN VA EVEN IF HE LOOSE THE ELECTION (WHICH IS HIGHLY UNLIKLY) HE WILL WHEN VIRGINIA.

    WE ARE THE HOME CHRISTIAN RIGHT!!

    October 1, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. Jack

    Now here come the republicans with their racism attacks using the reverent wright and others. McCain can't stick to the issues because he is on the wrong side of all issues important to working Americans.

    John McCain and his silly running mate Sarah Palen have been proven by their own words to be lairs, now they want to add racism to their resume's.

    October 1, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Edge of cliff

    An Obama victory means the end of the world as we know it but the people are too blind to see it.
    :-(

    October 1, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Rosaleen M. Mackay

    I just don't understand this "common people" line. McCain wears $500 shoes and is at present selling a mansion in the desert. Palin, I understand, and her family brought in $250,000. On the day she was nominated at the convention, her silk jacket cost $2500. In what way are either of these families "of the people." If they are, I truly don't know the right people for I do not have anything like this kind of money to spend. Let's get real. If you look at Biden and Obama, they appear to have the stronger "family values" that get bandied around. Neither one has been divorced and I believe they each have only one house. Please stop this stupid talk about either one of these people, Palin and McÇain, being "of the people" or "six pack people." for neither fit this criteria!!!!!

    October 1, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Kelby from Houston, TX

    YES WE CAN! there is nothing that can stop this movement...NOTHING!

    October 1, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. LB-NJ REPUBLICANS FOR MCCAIN

    Osama/Obama is ready to Bomb,Bomb, Bomb Afghanistan. Do we need another war. Get our troops out of Iraq, But certainly don't move them to another War. Whose the idiot now!!!!!

    October 1, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Susan, TX

    TO ALL OBAMA VOTERS, VOTE EARLY! DON'T WAIT TILL NOVEMBER AND YOU WON'T HAVE TO WAIT. FOR SURE THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST TURN OUT.

    MCCAIN VOTERS YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHANGE YOUR MIND AFTER THE REPORT ON PALIN COMES OUT ON 10/10/08, IF IT FINDS PALIN DID ABUSE HER POWERS IN THE TROOPERGATE. IF THIS IS THE CASE VOTE BARR OR RON PAUL!

    DO NOT IGNORE THE REPORT AND CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE TICKET, IT IS MORALLY WRONG TO VOTE CORRUPTION INTO OFFICE.

    October 1, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. Jack

    Yeah the McCain/palen is fighting for you working people, their fighting to put you in the poor house. McCain is promoting more of the same Bush policies that ship your jobs overseas and give tax breaks to the wealthy elite.

    With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    October 1, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. jm from sc

    The article asked the following question, "What's behind this shift for Obama?" The answer would have to be the liar he is running against.

    I see one article where the republicans are trying to resurrect Rev. Wright to try to scare white supporters. It will not work. No weapon formed against Sen. Obama will prosper.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 1, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. bill

    come on people lets turn this whole country blue including florida ohio just seen this dispicable rev wright ad THESE PEOPLE LIKE BUSH WILL STOP AT NOTHING IT DONT HAVE TO BE TRUE THEY THROW MUD AGAINST THE WALL AND HOPE IT STICKS WELL IT WONT WORK THIS TIME THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT FIT TO RUN MY AND YOUR COUNTRY

    October 1, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. jefflz

    McCain's erratic and risky moves include: (1) the choice of Palin wiithout properly vetting her, (2) the attempt to cancel the first debate, (3) the attempt to insert himself in the bailout negotiations and look like he was in charge. These moves are not paying off in these unsettling times and his comment that the economy was fundamentally sound as the crisis was emerging was a major gaffe..

    October 1, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. Edwin, Fayetteville, NC

    More gains will be made by the Obama/Biden ticket in the next 30+ days until the election. I don’t think it is as close as the poles suggest, as I talk with others Obama has more support among all voters. But my question is, why was Obama condemned for not wearing a FLAG pin and for the last three weeks McCain has not had one on?

    October 1, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. JayT.

    It's quite interesting to see what Right wingers will say when times get desperate. They really show their true colors. They start mentioning Rev. Wright, Tony Rezco, Obama's a Muslim, a Socialist, etc, etc. These are fearful and ignorant people who try to fan the flames of their own ignorance and fear. And being a white male, I notice that my fellow white males are the most likely to hold these views. I'm not surprised.

    October 1, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Edge of cliff

    I just contributed a million dollars to the McCain campaign.

    October 1, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Edge of cliff

    Do people even know what change Obama promises actually means?

    October 1, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. MB

    LET'S TURN MO BLUE!

    October 1, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Edge of cliff

    Change We Can Believe In
    Change We Have Been Looking For
    Change We Need
    The Real Change

    We're idiots. God help us.
    :-(

    October 1, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. lyn

    McSame you are desperate, every time you put out an attact add bashing Obama, _____. I send Obama a big donation. McSame now pick a Republican Hugh Hiwitt to interview Palin so he can ask her sily Question that she can answer, and hoping that she will get the Hillary supporters. Well I got one thing to say to you McSame it will not work we are not stupid with all your lies and gimmmicks .Hear me It will not work. "Go Obama & Biden Go"

    October 1, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Cuban-mami-4-OBAMA

    HEY OBAMA/BIDEN SUPPORTERS WE NEED TO EMAIL CNN EVERYDAY IF NEEDED FOR THEM TO TALK ABOUT THE KEATING 5!

    AND INVESTIGATE TROOPERGATE!

    WHERE IS INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM?

    October 1, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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